Sara's Column: Part of journalism is staying current with technology

Without technology, mass communication as we know it would be impossible. From the printing press to the internet, technology has been the backbone of mass communication since almost day one.
Aug 1, 2013

For those who may not know, my thing is technology.

I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because my dad was an engineer and there was always that latest issue of “Popular Science” laying around the house.

Maybe it’s because of the endless hours watching “Star Trek: Next Generation” as a kid.

In any case, I’m slightly obsessed.

When I was in college, it was a coin toss as to whether I’d major in computer science or journalism. Obviously, journalism won out.

But in recent years, I’ve begun to find areas where the two overlap. As a graduate student, one of my favorite classes – and the inspiration for my thesis topic – was communication and technology.

Without technology, mass communication as we know it would be impossible. From the printing press to the internet, technology has been the backbone of mass communication since almost day one.

Which is why it’s so critical we as journalists stay current with the latest in technology.

Print media is changing. That is indisputable in my opinion.

People want immediacy, and the internet helps offer that.

According to the 2013 data from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 85 percent of all American adults use the internet. In 2012, 81 percent of all American adults used the internet, and of those users, fully 78 percent got their news online.

Knowing this, I was thrilled when I learned The Lebanon Publishing Co. was planning to redesign the websites for The Democrat, Mt. Juliet News and The Hartsville Vidette.

It’s our jobs to stay current, and I think these new websites helps us do that.

First and foremost, it’s mobile-friendly.

As of this year, 56 percent of American adults own a smartphone, according to Pew.

We want to help those local smartphone users easily access information on our site. With a design compatible with either Android or iPhone users, our new design lets readers quickly find what they’re looking for with minimum fuss or fiddling.

Another hallmark of communication technology is interactivity. Users can make themselves heard so much more easily than with traditional print media. And we’ve tried to make that as easy and inviting as possible on our new site.

Each story has an area for reader comments, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of them. We want to hear from you. What did you like about the story you read? What would you have liked for us to add that we may have overlooked?

The internet offers a unique opportunity to spark community discussion, and we hope to be a part of that discussion.

Along similar lines, we’ve also added the capability to conduct polls, which is probably my favorite new feature.

Not only is it a fun way to find out what your fellow community members are thinking, but it’s also a way to make your own voice heard.

If you haven’t had the chance to look around our new site, I encourage you to do so.

I know in the time I’ve spent checking out all the new features and functions, I’ve been like a kid in a candy store.

Or like a teen with a new smartphone.

In any case, I hope you like the new site as much as I do.

And feel free to cast your vote on the poll.

 

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